A United States federal jury has ruled that agricultural chemical giant Monsanto’s popular weedkiller Roundup significantly helped cause a California man’s cancer.
Edwin Hardeman’s case against Monsanto was the first to be tried in federal court. Mr Hardeman claims Roundup caused his cancer and federal jury in San Francisco agreed with him.
Mr Hardeman’s attorney Jennifer Moore said they are “very pleased” the jury unanimously held that the Roundup caused her client’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
“It was a hard, long-fought battle against Monsanto. And for Mr Hardeman to have his day in court and to show that Roundup does cause cancer,” Ms Moore said.
The trial, however, only focussed on whether Roundup caused Mr Hardeman’s cancer. A second phase of the trial will be about Monsanto’s liability.
Bayer, the parent company of Monsanto, maintains that glyphosate, which is the key ingredient in Roundup, is safe for humans.
“We are disappointed with the jury’s initial decision, but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer,” Bayer said in a statement.
“We are confident the evidence in phase two (of the trial) will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr Hardeman’s cancer.”
While Mr Hardeman’s case is the first to be heard before a federal court, it is the second time in eight months that a jury has reached a decision against Monsanto.
Thousands of similar cases are still pending at the federal or state level.
Bayer’s statement said the jury’s verdict in the Hardeman case has no impact on future cases and trials because each one has its own “factual and legal circumstances”.